Wednesday, December 30

Blinded by the bite...

Yesterday I made the sound and OBVIOUSLY rational judgment call that I was going to enjoy myself eating whatever I wanted for the last few days of 09. This included (but by no means is limited to) :

One piping hot order of funnel cake sticks from Burger King

One mac and cheese bread bowl pasta from Domino's with onions and bacon

At least 3 milk chocolate and pecan Turtles

Swedish fish. Lots and lots of Swedish fish. (they are little red gummy candies, in case you think I was eating real fish. NO WAY. Yuck.)

And shamefully, I must say that that was all before 2pm in the afternoon.

For some reason, I felt like celebrating in my own "fast foodie" kinda way. I can't sit here and write to you with total remorse about it yesterday, because it tasted wonderful. Hitting all that grease and goodness before the new year flips over on us was pretty awesome!

That is, until my quaint and somewhat predictable neurosis got the better of me. Oh, yes, all that artery cloggin' cuisine was thrown back in my face this morning as I nervously stepped up on my faithful scale.

I was praying the entire time....

"Please, God, not 175. ANYTHING less than 175. Please!!! I will become a nun if you will just help me out! I promise!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

What was hard is the scale is digital, and that means it needs time to think as I am standing there on top of it, buck naked, thirsty as all get out, waiting patiently or not so patiently as it were, for my answer. And in retrospect, I maybe have been known to kick the scale from time to time. So I can't blame its hesitation to be truthful. I think God intervened this morning and had a conversation with my scale. I imagine this is pretty much how it went down.

Scale: "Oh, crap. She's back! She said she wasn't gonna be here for another 2 days!"

God: "Well, then let's get on with it. Tell her."

Scale: "Uh-uh. NOT IT. I'm not gonna say squat. She thunks me around if I don't tell her good news. And this is not good news."

God: "I don't know about that. I think she understands the consequences to her food choices lately. I'm pretty sure she is willing to take responsibility for her own actions."

Scale: "Like heck she is! Haven't you seen her melt downs? Her nuclear sized disappointments? The way she looks at me like I betrayed her if I tell her the truth? I think the best thing here is to lie."

God (heaving a big heavy sigh): "Fine. I am going to lift her up just a little bit so she's lighter than she should be. But not much. Then you won't get kicked, and she won't be totally discouraged. Deal?"

Scale: "Deal! Thanks God! She's got one heck of a quarterback kick..."

And the consensus was??? 173 point something. I didn't really pay attention. I was just relieved that it wasn't 175.
I know, I know. This means I have undone all the hard work I did over the past 2 weeks. Right?
Well, sort of right. But kind of wrong too.
See, I know that over the next 2 months (and possibly even longer) I will be on fire. I will be working out almost every day, eating right, writing uplifting and inspiring messages (hopefully inspiring) to you readers, and in general- behaving. And that takes a huge amount of effort on my part. You have no idea how hard that is for me.
In my mind, I am indulging in the dieters last supper. It's one of those freakish phenomenons that we all do to ourselves. We say we are starting a diet on whatever day. In this case, for most of us, it's on Friday, the 1st. Or maybe some of you are waiting till Monday the 4th. Mondays are a good day to start dieting. But we all have this feast or famine mentality when it comes to dieting. We don't look at how good an apple will taste to us. We look longingly at the drenched in butter bread sticks and swoon over those. Or that piping hot box of fries. Or this way to good to be true skin on the fried chicken.
You get the point.
And I am of the firm belief that this last supper is essential to our success. Do we make the first days of our diet a bit more challenging because we had the lack of sense to gain weight right before we start trying to lose it? Oh, you betcha. But does it satisfy some weird internal drive within us and give us closure on the drive thru window for the next 2 months?
Yes, it surely does.
So plan it and do it right. Give yourself that last supper you really want. Steak and shrimp? OK! Cheesecake and fried mushrooms? Go for it. Every single 100 calorie pack in the box? Have at, my friend. Have at.
We have 2 more days until the real work begins. And I, for one, am not going to miss out on my last supper. Well, maybe it's more like I'm on a cruise ship with endless amounts of food at my disposal. I know that Thursday night at midnight we are coming into port, and it will all be over. So I'm making one more stop at the chocolate fountain before the good life comes to an end.
38 hours of freedom left and counting....

Monday, December 28

Shaky Ground

Yep. This is shaky ground I am on.

I was doing so good! Then Matt and I decided that one meal out at a restaurant wouldn’t hurt.

So I (being a diligent dieter) looked up the WW point values of Buffalo Wild Wings food I was planning to get. And I was mostly good.

Then Matt mentioned getting chocolate. FOR HIM. As if I was going to let HIM have all the fun!

That was the slippery slope I started on.

What was supposed to be a romantic dinner discussing characters for our upcoming show and our love life and all the things the kids usually interrupt if we try to discuss at home, became an all you can shove in your mouth 2 day buffet.

Complete with guilt.

I’m not beating myself up, per say, but I am feeling a little low about it. I was doing so good!

So what’s my answer to the problem of my weekend of overeating???


Yeah, a Shake Weight.

Maybe you have seen the infomercials about it late at night…maybe you have seen the Ellen spot on this incredulous invention.

All I know is everything I need, I can find at Walgreens. And that includes a shake weight.

So today, as soon as I finish working on the house, (which most likely means later tonight) I am going to pop in the 6 minute long DVD and give this shake weight a try. It seems easy, but as I often discover during the throws of a workout, I’m sure it won’t be. But I have got to do something about my flabby arms.

I am also not going to weigh myself until the morning of the 1st. Cause I don’t want to spend the last few days of 2009 being depressed that I blew it.

Nope, I want to enjoy these last 4 days looking at my accomplishments and being proud. Using the shake weight will help, but starting Friday we are back to working our butts off- full tilt and boogie.

I think we need to count down to the New Year! The year that we really change things for the better.

Who’s in???? What are you planning to do- your weight loss resolutions? Tell me, cause I am looking for ideas! ha

Thursday, December 24

A Christmas Message

I am sitting in the dark, a mere 2 ounces away from hitting 70 pounds lost, typing you this post.

It's dark because Tim, our "adventurous" 7 year old, has the house as dark as he can.

He got night vision goggles for Christmas. And he's trying to see how well they work.

He also got a spy digital recorder, which he used at 5am this morning to record Mom and Dad sawing logs. When Matt asked him what he was doing, he said, "Just collecting evidence..."

So in the dark I sit, wondering what in the world I can tell you before Christmas. It's rather hard to type, and I can't see the keyboard all that well. But Tim is seeing things in a whole new way. And he's not messing up my house, so we both win.

I suppose that everyone is going to have their fill of Christmas candy and junk food and yummy assortments of calorie laden goodies over the next couple of days. And I won't deny you that. Go ahead. You've earned it!

But in a week, when the new year rolls around, I'm going to be here. I'm anticipating a busy month, as women everywhere will be looking around for a place to find information about weight loss. And by then, I'll be at my 165. And ready to help. :)

OK, back to Christmas. What can I say?

I keep coming back to Tim's darn night vision goggles! Weird, I suppose, but I can't think of a better way to illustrate the Christmas story.

Because the world was dark, lonely and void of all hope before the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ. There was no way to see the path to salvation.

Until the world was given a pair of night vision goggles in a stable just outside a town called Bethlehem. Shepherds and wise men came to see this tiny child born in a manger, where they could see the world for what it really was- full of hope.

With the goggles of Jesus, the world is able to maneuver in this life with purpose. With confidence of where we are going, mindful of the pitfalls before us, and avoiding obstacles that come our way.

And I don't really think its a coincidence that when Tim sees the living room with his nifty night vision goggles the world looks red. He's seeing things with a rosy outlook in the dark.

We should see life as it is now intended to be- not dark and hopeless, but draped and covered in the blood of Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. There is a light, and He is here with us- right now.

Merry Christmas to you all, and may you remember that Jesus was born for you- that we might live life to the fullest each and every day. Loving each other with grace and forgiveness. And feasting on the Bread of life.

Not overdoing it on the Christmas cookies. (Force of habit! Had to throw that in there!)

With the warm glow of God's love-

Tuesday, December 22

How Reagan Rescued Me

Yesterday was one of the most emotional days of my life.

My husband and I sat in a courthouse, surrounding a family and community who lost their two year old daughter, granddaughter, niece and sweet little angel- Reagan Williams- to shaken baby syndrome at the hands of a man who sat on trial. Yesterday was the sentencing hearing for the man's crimes of killing this precious baby.

I am going to bring you this message in the best way I know how, because at the moment I am so emotionally broken for so many reasons.

Reagan's life was short- too short, and in the 2 1/2 years she had on this earth, she endured the best of both worlds. She got to know the unconditional love of her father's family, and yet lived in the fear of the custodial home she knew. She never had the chance to go to her first day of school, her first dance, her own graduation. She will never see the love of her life waiting at the end of an aisle for her in candlelight. Her life was tragically taken at the hands of someone else. Someone who lived in the home with her and was supposed to protect her. But she never got that protection.

Her natural father and his family tried to pull her out. They tried to give her safety, protect her. But the nature of our overloaded courts and family protection services were too busy to take responsibility for this little girl in need of help.

And they were wrong not to help. In their busyness, they turned little Reagan away, even though there were pictures and evidence of prior abuse. Their hearts should feel just as responsible as the man who created the fear and ultimately the end of Reagan's brief life.

So many of us have felt the effects of abuse in our own lives. Maybe we grew up with a father, grandfather, uncle, or even a stepmother who beat us, molested us, broke us. Maybe we have had boyfriends, husbands, ex husbands, who chewed up what little hope we had and threw it on the floor, along with our hopes, dreams, and self esteem, making our home a place that was void of safety and comfort.

I am here to tell you today that we are the lucky ones.

We made it out alive.

Reagan didn't.

She wasn't able to be a screwed-up adult because of abuse, like the rest of us. She wasn't able to gain a ton of weight, thinking that if she was fat or ugly her abuser would leaver her alone. She never told herself while looking in a mirror "you are worthless" because someone told her that's what she was.

Instead, there is no longer a reflection in the mirror for her to see.

See, kids, yesterday, sitting in that courtroom, hearing that the man who killed Reagan was only getting 7 years in prison and screaming at the injustice- I realized something. I can no longer use my fears from my past to dictate my future. My fat has been my safety for far too long. I used it as a shield, protecting me from the bad things in life. No one could really get close to the person I am if I remain attached to my fat. No one would hurt the innocent child who didn't understand what was happening to her because fat made you ugly, and if you were ugly, no one would want you. Those are the thoughts that kept me alive, that gave me a chance at normalcy in life. The thoughts that keep holding me back from heading into a land that I have never known as an adult. The land of Skinnydom.

I know that if I keep hanging on to the fat- the emotional ties that binge- I will never have the opportunities in life that I deserve. That Reagan deserved. She deserved so much more than she was given, and yet I look at my own life and see the things I have squandered. I have selfishly thrown away chance after chance to change, because of my own fears of being hurt.

So as this year begins to draw to a close, I feel there is nothing left for me to do but be forced to shed all my feelings of inadequacies, fear, hopelessness. I made huge strides with my weight in 2009. But in 2010, it is time for me to do things as an adult I never thought I would. Take risks, live life to the fullest. Really really really work towards my goal of 100 pounds and become a survivor. A living breathing survivor who made it out, and helps others break free too.

When it is all said and done, Reagan's killer will be in prison about the same amount of time that Reagan was alive. A mere 2 1/2 years, thanks to our injustice system. I can't take on legal battles to correct that wrong. What can I do to help? Me? A mother, a wife, a writer and professional dieter?

What I can do is step up to the plate, embrace my kids, love my husband, and not let the after effects of my past abuse hold me back any longer. Those emotions can't tie me down. Not for one more day. I've got the answers to my unanswered questions, at last. And I saw them in the eyes of this little girl.

Reagan only got 2 1/2 years. But my own fears and past hurts have held me back for over 20 years. Yesterday I was filled with sorrow about that fact. Today- I am determined that I won't let it happen ever again. And it's time that life is embraced for all that it is. The wonderful joy of living every day to the fullest, to it's full potential, and not letting my yesterdays loom over and dominate my todays. I'm breaking free from my fear and my fat.

So today, I say with absolute confidence that I will live life like it should be. With the faith and hope of a child. Reagan and me. One in heaven, one nothing more than a broken child at heart. Both of us safely in the arms of our Jesus, where we can't be hurt like this ever again. Bound forever in the throws of an ineffective courtroom where Reagan couldn't be saved, and I got my first taste of freedom.

Reagan, sweet darling, you have rescued me. Your short life has forever changed mine. And when I get to heaven and see your precious face, I am going to throw my arms around you, lift you up in the air, and thank you for what you have done.

You may be gone, but your memory is far from over. You have given birth to new life, little one. Thank you.

So today- is for Reagan.

If you would like to know more about Reagan and the foundation her family has started on her behalf, please visit Reagan's Rescue for more information.

Monday, December 21

Baby, It's Cold Inside

I think I have a huge bullseye for germs on me.

Last week, Amy (our oldest daughter) had the sniffles, and gave it to Mom and Dad. Who consequently spent their entire weekend lazing around coughing and sneezing and sleeping because they didn’t feel like doing anything else. Well, we did accomplish some things, but nothing major.

Matt cleaned the kitchen. And sneezed. I cleaned the living room. And sneezed.

We also worked on our lines for our show. (And let me tell you there are a ton of lines. More for him, I think, but really it’s going to be interesting to get all these lines down!)

One of the greatest advantages of doing this show (that we are so proud to do, I would like to add) is the fact that we can work on it at home. Just the 2 of us. Our director Donna is there to give us the blocking, encourage us to go the right way with some of the acting, etc., but if Matt and I couldn’t have had the distinct advantage of rehearsing by ourselves at home, we probably wouldn’t have agreed to the show. We can work on the rhythms and accents at home together and have a sounding board for one another.

As it stands, we only have to get a babysitter for the kids once a week, so it’s more or less like a date night. Especially since the two of us are such scene hogs. We love it. This is fun for us!!!

But the lines...oh the lines!!! Pages and pages of them! The key to memorizing a 60 plus page script (when you have half the lines) is exactly like the diet. You do it one pound at a time. One line at a time. At first – when you look at the whole of what you need to accomplish, it’s overwhelming. It scares you and freaks you out.

But if you sit down with your script and just get one line at a time, before you know it you have a whole page knocked out! With only 59 more to go!

Why am I prattling on about this play? (it’s called “Talley’s Folly, by the way. It’s a valentine. A waltz…one-two-three, one-two-three… uh, yes, nerdily that is a line from the show.)

Because I know how to immerse myself into a character. I scrutinize my role- Sally- from every angle. Why does she say the things she says? What in her past makes her react to this situation?

What things in her past have formed her thoughts today?

And I think these are valid questions that we need to ask ourselves on this dieting venture. It’s not just a conquering of physical weight. It’s an emotional journey, as you well know. That’s why we are so prone to fail. Women are vulnerable to that emotional business. Yes, we certainly are.

I have been going through this weekend in my 7 dwarfs like state (Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Grumpy, and need a Doc) and doing something called a character bio. You list certain attributes of the character you will play that are important. Most of it you just have to make up. It’s the details that matter.

But some of the questions I answered about my character, Sally Talley, had me reeling with unanswered questions of my own. Like...

Skills: Phobias / Fears: Bad Habits / Vices: Quirks: Best Qualities: Worst Qualities: Key Childhood Experiences: Key Teenage Experiences: Key Adult Experiences: Favorites (food, clothing, art, music, TV show, movie, book, etc.) : Personal Goals: Professional Goals: Morality / Ethics: Style of Speech: Commonly Used Words / Slang / Jargon: Lies / Misinformation: Other Important Details:

So not all of these are pertinent, but maybe they are. If I really sit down and list out all my feelings about being fat, the experiences that carved out a plump version of me- what would I discover? Do I tell myself lies and misinformation? (I know I do. I tell myself all the time that I will wake up and have gained back all the weight I have lost. I don't believe it, but the thoughts are there...) What things are keeping me from hitting that 169 I so desperately want to see but seem to sabatoge myself from? (every single fricking fracking time. I actually ate pie crust the other day. Seriously? Pie Crust? I baked it in the oven with butter and sugar. Not fakes of either, I might add. Ug. I’m holding at 172. Mostly.)

We have got to get into the inner workings of ourselves if we want to make changes that stick. We have got to recognize our triggers. My trigger is apparently getting skinnier. Frustrating as it may be, there is some emotional glitch that keeps me holding on to the fat I have left. (And there is fat left. My tummy is a mess. All giggly and flabby…yucko.)

Plus, the adorable brown and white polkadot dress is not even close to fitting. So I have HUGE hurdles to leap. I’m still going to have to have the dress altered, but to what extent? What can I accomplish in the next 8 weeks to get me where I am hoping to be? (As you may recall, I want to perform on stage in the land of the 150’s. Uh, at this point, I think I would settle for the low 160’s, but we will see what I can do.)

This week, as I am exploring the world and inner workings of my character, I’m going to be exploring myself too. I’m going to figure out exactly what the bottom of this burning question is. I’m going to find the chase, and figure out how I can cut to it.

Will you do some exploring with me? What are your emotional triggers? What are the hang-ups you have that keep you from achieving dieting success and keep you on the yoyo of dieting and binging?

This week, as we prepare for Christmas, let’s give ourselves the gift of selfawareness. Let’s figure out what we are so scared of and conquer it together.

It’s time for coffee and some advil cold and sinus. Eeeks. I just sneezed on the computer monitor. Gross… good thing I can’t send you a cold virus from the blog… I’m looking forward to getting over this cold! It’s snot very fun!

Friday, December 18

Tidbits, Teachers, Thorns, and Thoughts

It is Friday morning, at 5am. 172, which is better than 175 like I was earlier this week. Mother Nature came early yesterday. Hooray and BLEEEECH. I have officially been awake for an hour and a half, but that's ok. I have a crap load of things to do that I didn't finish last night.

Like teacher gifts. My sister in law, Tricky Nikki, guilted me into them yesterday while we "talk/shopped" at walmart. She was at home with her brood plus daycare kids, I was shopping at wallyworld, and we talked. It's about the easiest time for us to talk, plus I always mention what I'm looking at and she gives me her take on the product. It's extremely helpful to avoid cardboard-like diet foods. Cause Nikki knows her diet foods. Anyhoo, she talked so lovingly of getting gifts for the teachers and how much it meant to her when she was teaching... needless to say, the quickest way to get me into action is guilt. Even if you weren't trying to guilt me.

So instead of getting a prepackaged gift for each of the teachers, I thought I would do a little gift bag and a nice note with each bag. Which is taking me far longer than I had anticipated. I should have bit the bullet and bought a dozen gift cards or something. Granted, what I am doing is cheaper, but way more time consuming than I had hoped. I just hope it means something to the wonderful teachers my kids have. We got super lucky with this group!

I'm baking cinnamon rolls too. Well, the oven is preheating (frantically runs to the oven as she realizes she totally forgot to do that when she made her coffee...) NOW it's preheating! Today is the last day of school for the kids, so we can celebrate a little. They can celebrate, anyway. I'm sticking to my coffee and high fiber oatmeal. It's a party in my colon I suppose.

And it seems that Matt and I are both coming down with a cold. The kids have been battling it this week, but haven't been really sick, just- stuffy. Whatever it is, it's moving down into our throats. Which is highly irritating because I was just at the doctor's office yesterday. I will not go back again unless it turns into strep or something. So let's just hope that it goes away quickly and I don't become a crybaby whiny pants. (Who me? I NEVER act like that!!! haha)

Oh before I forget to share with you, one of my oldest and dearest friends Joy (no she's not old, we are the same age- we have just been friends a long long time...which reminds us we are getting old) sent me a wonderful surprise yesterday! I GOT FLOWERS!!! The kids were freaking out when I said "they aren't from daddy!" but they were relieved to hear they weren't from some secret admirer. They like our family just the way it is. Anyway, I thought I'd show you my beautiful gift!

It made my day, and reminded me that being there for one another is the most important thing we can do. Be strong, be courageous, be present! (Not give presents, but you can- if you feel so compelled. I won't turn them down!) I'm talking about letting others know that you are on their side. Which leads me quite beautifully into my final point.

OK, normally I don't bring stuff like this to the blog. But there are some serious prayer concerns, and these issues need some help from GOBS of people. I am going to put these out there, and if you consider yourself "in" with God, I would ask that you join me in lifting these issues up in prayer along with me.

1. My friend MaryBeth's husband lost his job yesterday. Yep. Right before Christmas. That is absolutely rotten, isn't it? Anyway, they are both handling it well, and seem to be at peace with the whole thing. But that is tough, no matter what angle you look at it. Did I mention they have 6 kids? Marybeth and Curt are troopers, that's for sure, but their situation is really burdening my heart. What can you and I do to be a blessing to them???

2. The Williams family. Oh, this is a tough one. In 2006, a little girl was killed by her mom's boyfriend- her death was caused by shaken baby syndrome. Little Reagan was 2 years old. Since then, her family has started a group called Reagan's Rescue and they are active in creating community awareness about shaken baby syndrome. We are friends with Reagan's grandparents (founders of Reagan's Rescue) and her father. Well, Monday afternoon is the sentencing for the man who took Reagan's life. And Matt and I have been asked to go. I still remember how tough the funeral was, how filled with rage I was at the events that had transpired. How grief stricken I was for this little one's family, and those who weren't able to protect her. I only hope that this sentencing will bring some sense of peace. Please pray for this incredible family as they face one of the hardest moments since Reagan's death. Lift them up close to heaven and let them know that we are there with them.

3. Our good friend, Cross. She needs prayer on Saturday morning. She is taking a court reporting test, and did I mention she NEEDS our prayers? This has not been easy for her, and she is ready to make the leap from legal secretary to court reporter so she can move on. But she has to pass this test. Pray that she knocks this test out of the park, and has total peace during her exam. Cross, you are one of my favorite people, and I know you will get it. I'm on your side, sister, and now- so are your bloggy comrades. You can do this!!! Lifting you up!

All right, I'll be back on Monday. I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend, and stay out of all those Christmas goodies as best you can. We are going to kick it into high gear after the first of the new year, but we don't have to make things worse than they already are, right???

Wednesday, December 16

A Surprise Family Visit at Christmas

Dear Aunt Flow-

Your impending visit this Christmas is reeking much havoc this week. I am trying to keep my head above water with the plans, parties and get-togethers for the holiday season, and be the good little dieter that I (should be but am not) am, but the close proximity of your visit is really throwing a wrench in my gears. The horrormoans, the water retention, the compulsive eating for no reason at all... it's all adding up to equal a not very hopeful Christmas at all. A delicious one to be sure, as I am smelling the Bourbon roasted sweet potatoes in my crock pot as we speak, but not a good one for a skinny Christmas.

Yet even as I write this, I have a secret weapon in my arsenal. Not Midol, although it's healing powers are great, but my Iphone.

You may recall that I received it last month right after you left, and purchased an application called "Period Tracker." It has opened my eyes to the inevitable truths about our too close for comfort relationship. Because it makes it easy to track EVERYTHING that has to do with you, even if I think it doesn't. Like hunger.

See, for a long time I have blamed myself and my lack of will power for the way that I eat. When I get hungry and chow down (on 3 bowls of Capt'n Crunch Crunchberries in the middle of the night. And NOOOOO, they don't count as a fruit, even if they are berries), I ticked off a little box that said "Moods- hungry." When I drank a whole 2 liter of diet 7up yesterday I checked another box that said "Moods- thirsty." And when all the children were surrounding me in a 1 square foot proximity (with one attempting to sit on my lap and another quite possibly on my head) and it got on my nerves, I looked for a box that said "Moods- Claustrophobic" but settled for "Moods- Frustrated."

And I noticed a trend.

Once I ovulate, you take over with your travel plans to visit me.

It's not noticeable at first, or if you look on the surface, but when I took a second look, I realized that a lot of my issues with food are an attempt to appease you. To make you tolerable. And I have been living in ignorance about that fact for the last 20 years.

I always assumed you had me the day before you came and the next solid week once you arrived, but really it's much longer than that. I get weepy, I get mad, I get hungry, and it's all because of you.

I know this in certainty because I have changed. I now know that I want to be healthy. I strive to live within guidelines that my doctor would approve of. I eat fruits and veggies and do my best to stay away from the really fattening stuff that you seem to love so well. Like gravy, which you seem to consider a 5th food group.

And now, dear Auntie, you are on my radar. I've got your number.

Because when I am aware of your actions, I can control them. I can take charge, and talk myself off the all- you- can- eat- buffet ledge. I can do something about it.

OK, so you are coming in 3 days. Give or take an emotional breakdown or so. But I know it. I know that right now I am retaining water like nobody's business and it's adding to the weight I am working so hard to lose. I know that my muscles are achy because you have attempted to thwart Jillian Michaels attempt to Shred me. (I'm not complaining about that one, actually. She's is still eeeee-vil and my thighs are thankful for the reprieve.) But I am fully aware of the curves you are throwing at me.

And now, dear Aunt Flow, I can say no.

I can remind myself that this is simply a form of biological warfare which YOU are the cause of. I can release my frustration at the horrormoan situation and move forward. I can win against your plans. Sort of. You will win for a short period, but I am going to win the other 20 days. So watch out.

And you know what? It would be super awesome if you wouldn't keep showing up for major events. Like my 32nd birthday. Or now, for Christmas day. (Thankfully, you should be heading out the door on Christmas morning. Which is good, because the kids will be gone for a week, and let's just say that Matt and I would like to enjoy the "quiet time.")

So be aware that you are a marked member of this family now. I will be watching your every mood. Uh, every move.

I am even going to get you a gift this year. Seems fitting that you have something under the tree as well. I'm thinking about these....


Your not so nice niece,

Monday, December 14

Jeepers Creepers, How'd ya sock those Peepers?

I totally blame my friend Melissa.

See, she has been on a journey to lose weight too. And recently, she did something that I couldn’t believe. She did the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. And she even did it for 30 days. AND LIVED.

If Melissa can do it, so can I, right???

Before I begin my story, may I remind you of- and share- a few facts?

A. I have been lazy about exercise lately, and haven’t walked more than 3 miles at a time since I got the flu. Nor have I swam a mile, done yoga, or anything else notable. I have, however, dropped a few pounds in tears after seeing what my laziness has done for my numbers. It ain’t pretty. 174.2, I say with despair and frustration in my heart.

B. I own the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. The last time I attempted it, I was approximately 219 pounds, and I made it precisely 5 minutes into the DVD before I had to decide if I was going to have a heart attack with a side of exercise induced panic attack, or stop and sit on the couch- reminding myself to breathe. I chose the latter.

C. I was dealing with a serious case of Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffin guilt. DoubleTriple Chocolate Chunk Muffin guilt, actually, because I ate two of the durn things at 3am. I made them while waiting for clothes to finish drying so I could switch uniforms from the washer for the kids to wear to school this morning. I was going to fall asleep if I didn’t do something, so I made muffins. I did not realize how dangerously close to brownies those frickin frackin muffins would smell as they were baking. As soon as they were cool, I tasted one- BUT ONLY, OF COURSE, to make sure they were fit for consumption. Then I had to eat another, to make sure the deliciousness wasn’t a fluke on the first muffin. I was wise enough to call it quits before (inhaling) nibbling on a third. I still have my pride. It’s just prettier with a girdle to hold it in.

Now, flash forward to 5am. Still not sleeping, still remembering the taste of muffins. So for a swift kick of reality, I weighed myself. Then I decided I should go to an exercise class at the YMCA. But I really wasn’t sure that was the best idea, because I hadn’t slept and was genuinely tired. So I opted to look at my unusually large collection of workout DVDs and keep the humiliation on the home front. But which DVD to choose?

Lotte Berk. Not a chance.

Billy Blanks TaeBo Bootcamp. When pigs fly.

Barry’s Bootcamp. When H-E-double hockeysticks freezes over.

Sarah Ivanhoe’s 20 minute Yoga Makeover. Forget it.

Bob Harper’s Biggest Loser Workout- maybe, 'cause I loves me some Bob Harper, but the DVD would take longer than I had at that moment.

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. NO FREAKING WAY.

That is when I remembered Melissa. And what she did.

I’m actually not sure if she made it the whole 30 days. But in my mind, I totally give her credit for it. I know I applauded her on Facebook every time she said she had to leave and go let Jillian work her over (especially as I was sitting on my rumpus “still recovering” – aka being a lazy butt- from the flu). Melissa persevered. She didn’t like it, but she did it.

And I thought to myself “if sweet Melissa can do it, so can I.”

Not that I am as strong as Melissa, but ever since I read her reply to my first email to her, I was bonded to this woman. She is my kinda girl.

Jillian, however, is not even close to being my kinda girl. She is eeeee-vil. To the third degree. Nay, eeeee-vil to eeeee-leven. And like I said earlier, the last time I tried 30 Day Shred, I almost had to call the paramedics. It was bad. And that was 5 minutes into it. I only wish I was exaggerating.

And I was freaking myself out.

So I started my mantra.

“For Melissa. For Melissa.”

‘Cause if I repeated it over and over, I would see Melissa’s face instead of Jillian. Melissa loves me and doesn’t want me to die. I honestly believe Jillian could care less if I kicked the bucket, as long as kept kicking while I was down.

So I began.

It really didn’t help that I was trembling before the opening credits were over. That is how fearful I am of this DVD. “For Melissa. For Melissa.” Maybe it was because I hadn’t slept, or maybe it was the double triple chocolate chunk muffin guilt, or it could have been the fear of God that was rising up within me. Whatever it was, it wasn’t getting Jillian and I off on the best foot.

She smiles and talks about how she’s going to transform your body. I reminded myself that I had already done a butt load of transforming, just me and Jesus, and perhaps this time, if me and the Big J added Jillian into our sucessful mix, it would be easier. Plus, I was down a third of the woman I was back then!

Vanity, vanity....

I’m going to break this down to the highlights. You don’t really want to read a play by play of my torture.

Jumping Jacks- One of Jillian’s favorite forms of (torture) exercise. Normally, I would attempt to pound them out, and best my eeeee-vil foe. But as I started bouncing out the jacks -cause with my jigglies, there is no jumping. Just residual movement from the initial action of a singular JUMP- two facts became alarmingly clear.

1) If I bounced like Jillian was on the DVD, I was going to wake up everyone in the house with my elephant sized booms, perhaps causing a sizematic catastrophe.


2) I was going to wet my pants. No room for error. One hearty hop and I’d be puddle jumping.

So I modified the jumping jacks. I lifted one foot at a time and did more of a side kick action, keeping things quiet and dry. It was about the time I was exceedingly pleased with myself when the eeeee-vil one spouted off, “If you are looking for a modification for jumping jacks- well, there isn’t one.”


“I’ve got 400 pound people doing jumping jacks, and if they can do it so can you!”

Excuse me for a moment, Jillian, while I bury the remains of my pride. I’ll be stomping down the dirt of its grave with one foot at a time.

It was deflating.

So I imagined Melissa replacing the soundtrack in her southern accent.

“Honey, if you can only do one foot at a tiiime, you can only do one foot. Keep kicking, sister!”

Much better. My blood pressure reduced. (It really is a good thing I have an overactive imagination. It comes in handy sometimes.) And despite there not being a modification to jumping jacks, my single action Chuch Norris-ish kicks got my heart rate up there. I promise.


Now I may be delusional about my abilities, but I am not insane. I knew that if she said I needed hand weights, I would not be wise to dig out my 5 pounders. I was quite content to grab the puny 2 pound dumbbells. (Or as Matt calls them, my dumbbellettes.) Say what you want, but I still needed to function after this for the rest of the day. So little weights it is.

Except that after the lifting and pressing with the same motions for what seemed to be an eternity, those little weights got big. And heavy. Like when you hold a baby for 15 minutes and your arm starts to cramp up because you are out of practice. I was totally out of my element here, and it hurt like holy thunder. My arms went on autopilot. They were moving without my brain telling them to. I think they knew that it was inevitable.

That was about the time that my glasses started slipping down my nose because of all the sweat I was producing. Without a second thought, I went to push them back up my nose, nerdy style. Uh, with a handweight in my hand, and my arm completely unaware that we were changing intensity and heading for my face. My arm was focused on the movement at hand. (pun intended) So as the glasses went back up my nose, so did the handweight. Right square on the bridge of my nose. You know those cartoons where a person gets hit on the head and they see stars? Huh, I can say without a doubt that I saw George Clooney. Right there in my living room. At 5:20 am. Who knew he was in town?

The glasses flew off, and I gave up on seeing what I was doing. It was much easier to imagine Melissa’s head on Jillian’s body with them gone anyway. And I listened for my guardian instructor’s voice above the shrilling of the shred.

“It’s just a miiinor setback, hon. Keep going. Just a little while left. You can do this, girl. I know you can.”

I muddled through the next 10 minutes best as I could. If you have never done the shred, it cycles you through the movements. And you all know how FOND I am of cycles. Harumph.

Finally, the last cycle of the “strength portion”-

By the time the last round rolled through, I was a broken woman. The eeeee-vil one has you laying on the floor for the first bit, doing chest presses with the dumbbells. Then she says “Quick, stand up. No resting!” And I tried. I really really tried. But there was no getting up. I was just laying on the floor like the sad muffin eatin sack I was. And the eeeee-vil one goes back to the confounded jumping jacks. So I, in the vain hope of pleasing my cruel mistress, started doing pulses of being spread eagle down on the floor, still lifting my weights, praying that Jillian would be appeased with my pathetic offering. I also prayed that none of my kids would wake up. I could just imagine my explination...

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

“Oh, nothing, just doing jumping jacks on my back…”

Thankfully, everyone stayed in bed and no explanation was necessary.

So what is the verdict about the shred?

A. Pee first. NO EXCEPTIONS.

B. Wear contacts or fly blind. I nose what I am talking about.

C. Get yourself a Melissa. Someone who loves you and wants what is best for you. It makes the whole thing tolerable.

D. Double Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffin guilt is highly overrated. I wasn’t left with a shred of dignity at the end. They weren't worth it, and they won't be the next time either.

But I survived. At least, I survived day one. I’ll keep you posted on the next 29….

Friday, December 11

Heavy Things to Deal With...

I really should know better by now.If you aren’t having a great day, don’t step on the scale expecting it to make you feel better.

Especially if your horrormoans have been driving you to madness and compulsive eating.

I have to tell you (because I don’t want to gloss over the truth) that I had a complete melt down, standing buck naked in my kitchen at 5am this morning. I thought I’d weigh myself quickly just to make sure I hadn’t thrown myself too far off track.

What a stupid idea.

Although I wish I could tell you a lower number, I know that if I fudge the truth now, it won’t do anybody any good. AT ALL. So here it is.

(wincing and grimacing as I type this.)


Yeah, I managed to gain myself 5 pounds in 2 days.

How is that possible?

Well, I realized I was super hungry coming home from the video store with the movie “Julia and Julie” in my clutches. So I picked up a bagel with cream cheese. But they were sold out at Royal- Donut- Royal Donut, so I went to a coffee shop and got one I don’t know the calorie/fat content of. And they didn’t have reduced fat cream cheese. And if you are going to watch that movie, please do yourself a favor and watch it with a full stomach. Because it does nothing but make you hungry. That duck dish made my mouth water!!! So I ate more. Lots more.

Then, because it’s was Wednesday, I had to watch the season finale of Top Chef on my DVR. (So bummed Kevin didn’t win. He earned it, and I would let him fatten me up with pork any day of the week!!!) That also made me hungry. So, instead of going to bed like a good girl (because I’m still fighting the insomnia) I decided to eat. Not a fiber one bar, not some 97% fat free popcorn, not even veggies. Well, I did have one veggie. A sautéed onion, mixed in with pasta and hollandaise sauce. Bliss! Pure bliss!

Then Thursday, I made a crock pot full of chili. I haven’t made any for a year, and it tasted soooooo good! I had way too much. And I also should have laid off the left over muffins. And I know it.

So did my scale.

It was not happy with me at all this morning.

More importantly, I am not happy with me.

Now before anyone starts in on a lecture, I am going to share with you what I know to be self evident truths. I will then follow with my frustration about the truths.

Truth 1: My body rages with hunger about a week and a half before my period. Some months are worse than others. This month has been the worst in a long time.

Frustration 1: Yeah, my body does get extremely hungry- like a bottomless pit, as it were. I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with is the fact that I made poor choices when I got that hungry. My body didn’t force me to eat an entire can of French Fried Onions. (Did I forget to mention those in my list above? There were French fried onions. Emphasis on the “were”.) I chose to eat those all by myself. After this whole time, and I still don’t know better. Wait- I DO know better. It’s like the Calvin and Hobbes comic when Calvin says “I have plenty of common sense. I just choose to ignore it!” That is me. Ignoring the obvious.

Truth 2: Cheating is going to happen. That’s just the way life is. Especially if you are on a diet.

Frustration 2: Yes, cheating is going to happen. But why now? I have been half cheating/ half dieting for months now, and I was ready to get over it and battle it out! I was all psyched to move past this and get into the land of 160s. Like this weekend. But instead, I am sitting here regretting eating that food. I don’t like regrets. But I am owning up to the fact that I was not thinking with my head. I was thinking with my tummy. Smooth move, ex-lax.

Truth 3: I will encounter temptation often when it comes to food.

Frustration 3: I will run into food every day. Food is everywhere. It’s not like I have the luxury of a substance abuse problem (stick with me here, I’m not being demeaning or pious. I promise.) and I can AVOID places that serve or sell that substance. I am stuck having to eat and control my addiction every single day. This is where us fat chicks run into trouble. Food is necessary. Food is emotional. Food is… frustrating. It’s like a pair of new work shoes. (Maybe I should start a blog about my obvious love of shoes. It keeps coming up, doesn’t it???) You have to wear them, but they hurt. The cause blisters. They make you ache. And I keep trying to put my junkie flip flops back on. NOT APPROPRIATE. But those flip flops are familiar. And they don’t cramp my style. I love the taste of all things fattening. Fat is familiar. And I feel the emotional pull every time I wake up. This is where us fat chicks are like the folks who have been sober for years. That desire, whether we like it or not, is still there to drink. Or shoot up. Us fatties? We eat. And we can’t avoid it or we will die.

Now that I have perhaps thoroughly depressed everyone (I know I sure am) I need to look at some positive things that are happening.

Even though I am back up to 175 today, a lot of the 5 pounds will come right back off if I behave the next 3 days. That’s just how my body works.

Even though I am wearing the number 175 today, I was wearing a 230 or so this time last year. A marked improvement. I should be proud of that fact.

Even though I am a 175 right now, I know that I can use my frustration at seeing that number to get me back on track. I don’t want to stay here, and I know that. So I have to use my anger to fuel the desire to perspire. I have been totally lazy on exercise since I got the flu in November.

Tomorrow I must do a hard workout. It is a must. Feel free to call me about it. I’m posting my number under the “contact Charlie” part of the blog. Call me Saturday afternoon and yell if I haven’t done it.

OK, I need to go to bed now. I’m exhausted and am hoping for some rest tonight. The insomnia is catching up with me, and I’m feeling the exhaustion kicking in. That’s good, because it means that the spell of me not sleeping well is almost over.

Thanks for listening, gang. It is so good to know that you all are there when I need you most!


Tuesday, December 8

P.U.S. in Boots

What can a girl accomplish in 10 weeks?

Not a superwoman, but a real girl- filled with excitement, emotions, extenuating circumstances and family obligations… in the midst of holidays, visits to 2 different Grandmas who are under the weather, and housework that never stops… who is foolishly trying to write 2 books of completely different genres, keep up on a blog (which I really don’t mind) and the heaps of emails she receives from women who need encouragement…who is trying to keep her love life hot with her hubby, short people in her house from killing each other and who need endless amounts of bandaids for survival because of invisible booboos…who has to get through 5 (count em) 5 holiday celebrations and face her evil foe of pecan fudge and divinity…

What exactly can she do in 10 weeks?

Because that is all the time that I have. And the goal is being delivered as we speak. Tracking says that it is somewhere between here and Kansas. This is the goal.

Cute, huh?

It’s for the show I told you all about a few days ago. Remember me saying that Matt gave me an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone? Well, everything looks good so far, and as soon as we get the final word tomorrow night, it will be a confirmed go. And that is when the real fun begins.

Not because of the pages and pages of lines we will have to memorize. Or that we will have to rehearse often. I’m looking forward to that.

No, what worries me is that for some reason in my hairbrained Lucille Ball mindset, I had the brilliant idea that I should be in the land of the 150s when I perform. Which gives me exactly 10 weeks to lose between 11 and 20 pounds. Do the math and you will see that I am still hanging on to 170.


So I have 10 weeks to get unsuper me whipped into shape for my return to stage after a 4 ½ year absence/hiatus. Last show I did was “Chicago” when I got the dream role of Roxie Hart. A plump Roxie Hart.

But this show requires more. It says in the script that my character, Sally, is thin. THIN!


So I did the most impractical thing I could think of to get me on track.

I bought a costume that is too small for me.

That ought to do it. Right?

The dress is a size 10. “I thought you were wearing size 10 already, Charlie!” And yes. I am.

In jeans.

But not in shirts. They are still clingy on my size 14 belly/boob combination. And I still have a barrel chest problem. I have to shrink more. For the sake of the theatre.

This might actually be the swift kick I have been needing. Because if I can get down to a reasonable 155 by show time, I can strut my stuff with confidence. Actually, it will have to wait till after the show, because the character is unassuming and rather mousey. But I’m not. Once I step off that stage and become Charlie again, I can rejoice that I pulled off such a feat.

Me. The princess of UN-SUPER. (Thank you Shannon for inspiring me with that phrase. I needed it! lol)

I’m going to work out a rigorous schedule for working out, figure out a diet plan, and fill everyone in.

But for today, I’m gonna look at that picture of a too small dress and let myself get scared. Because dieting takes a hefty amount of fear (pun intended) for it to stick. For me to be willing to make the changes necessary to get me from a “size 10 jean only” to a “size 10 vintage dress.” Remember my babbling about changing my shoes and finding some red vinyl thigh high boots to wear?

This Princess of Un Super (PUS) is looking for her boots.

I will update you soon, but for now you should know that I am sweating bullets.

And that’s not a bad thing at all…

Monday, December 7

A Bad Case of the WHY ME's

I hate it when my body gets stuck on a third shift schedule. Those of you who have been with me for some time know that I have frequent trouble with insomnia. Truth be told, if I could be up all night and sleep during the day, I would. My body is ready to fall into bed by 5am, and I love rising at the crack of 3. PM.

When my body gets stuck on such a schedule, it takes me almost 3 weeks to get it back to normal. Because it isn't as easy as staying up for a full 24 hours till it's time to go to bed like normal people. I have to ease my body back into the routine of waking up at 6am. And the body doesn't like that much at all.

Part of the reason I prefer to sleep in the daytime is that I am scared of the dark. Yep, a 32 year old woman still hates sleeping in a pitch black room. I like opening my eyes from a deep sleep and seeing exactly what is in front of me. And I wake up from sleep often. It's the A.D.D in me, I think.

Point being, I PREFER to sleep in the day because I long for the security of the light.

I long for security often. Not just in my sleeping, but in many things. Like money. I often think that the security of great sums of money would make things so much better. I would relax. I could breathe easy, and take some of the pressure off of Matt as the sole bread winner. But everytime I try to make headway in that area, something inside me pulls towards something else.

I have learned to be confident over the past year, that's for sure, but am I SECURE???

Security is something I seldom felt. I grew up in a home where there wasn't much security. It was a constant state of walking on eggshells. Then in my first marriage, I wound up achieving the same type of home life- never knowing where I stood with the ex from one moment to another. Now, although I am extremely happy with Matt in our marriage, I wonder about the future, the kids college, getting enough money to have my surgery so I can have more kids...all those things weigh heavy on my heart. And in seeking security, I look around to see what things I can change to make it better.

And I always think that money will make those situations better.

But tonight, as I was watching a dvd of the show "Heroes" I felt God tugging on my insecure heart once again.

"Your security must be in ME."

Of course, I argue with God. (It's not a bad thing. I think God likes a little intelligent conversation with His children now and then.)

"Well, sure, YOU are the reason I have anything at all, but I need to pull my weight."

"But there are things planned for you that you would miss if you take the short cuts."

"What kind of short cuts are You talking about?"

"You need to finish what you have already started."

"God, that is fine and dandy, but I have to help take care of things now."

"Why? Do you think that I won't?"

And there it was. The ugly truth of my disobedience staring me square in the face. I don't think that God will take care of me like I want to take care of me.

Now, I will admit this notion is pretty darn laughable. After all. I do a horrific job of taking care of me. (Shall we point out who allowed herself to be a fatty fatty two by four?)

But I know the things I want! I know what I need! I know what I greed! And that's probably why God has a problem with me being secure in myself alone. I take the easy route.

And God's ways are never easy. It's kind of like the whole diet process. I do good for a while, then have to take a few steps back in failure. Because He wants to teach me a lesson. For my own good of course, but nevertheless, lessons in the "hard knock category" suck. So I tend to avoid them.

Instead of trusting God with all my heart, I trust Him just enough to get me by. So it looks like I trust Him completely, but am still hanging on to those little pieces that I think I could do better with.

Like my past.

And my hurts.

And my weight.

And my checkbook.

Something has been burning on my heart lately, and I can't shake it. See, New Year's Day is coming up very soon, and women everywhere are going to be looking for a place to turn. Because their New Year's resolutions are going to be the same. "This is the year I am going to lose that 'X' number of pounds." Am I going to be too busy planning my own security, seeking what only helps me and my family, and neglecting the good I can do to help others reach their potential? Am I going to be selfish enough to say "I'm doing what is good for me" and not be there 100% for those who need a helping hand and a good belly laugh?

Or will I put my security in God and what He asked me to do over a year ago?

Because He told me that where I was going, the weight couldn't come along. (He also said the smoking had to go too. And I'm working on it. That's what New Year's resolutions are for, right?) But regardless of the fact that I am still striving for holiness, He calls me still. He asks me to seek out the women who have lost hope because of their weight. He asks me to believe in them and to instill confidence in them- even when they gave up on themselves long ago.

1st Corinthians 15:10 says "But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect." And to be honest gals, His grace was all I had when I started this journey over a year ago. I had no hope, no confidence....nothing. My family and friends supported me, but I don't think anyone actually thought I would really do it this time. But by the grace of God, I did what I did, and His grace effected me so profoundly that life would never be the same again.

The security I think I really long for is knowing that when I look at a woman in walmart, at the library, through an email, wherever she is- I will have the courage to share God's grace with her and show her what happens when you hang onto Him like there's no tomorrow.

So why me? Why is He asking all this of me? I'm no one special. I'm just a bratty woman who got herself in so deep with her weight and her depression that she had no place to look for hope but up.

And I think that's exactly why He has placed this mission on my heart. Not to make women thinner. Not to be a comedienne. Not to have a place to write and release my creative juices.

But because His grace to me would not be without effect.

I have some serious praying to do. I don't know what will happen. I don't know if my checkbook will fall into line. I don't know if I will ever get that earthly security that I long for.

What I do know is that I am going to push forward into reaching my weight loss goal, and I am going to see what effect He is going to have next on my life.

Why me? We'll see.

Thursday, December 3

A Message from the Sole. Soul. Technically, both would work!

It started with a silly flair that someone sent me on Facebook. A button that said “Shoes can change your life. Just ask Cinderella…” How perfectly clever!

Because shoes change throughout your day. You can’t run a marathon in heels. You can’t attend a black tie affair in Chuck Taylors. Not even if they are silver. You can’t march in the snow wearing flip flops. And you would be remiss to go to the beach wearing thigh high red vinyl boots. (No, I don’t own any, but I intend to one of these days!)

So why is it we think our diets, or even our lives, have to stay the exact same day after day in order to be good for us?

I don’t know about any of you, but I get stuck in a rut a lot. I eat the same things day in and day out. I stick with what I know works because it’s safe. I do that with more than just the diet, in fact. I do it with food, my wardrobe, my whole life. I get stuck in a rut.

But I don’t do that with shoes.

In fact, with shoes, I enjoy more freedom than in any other area of my life. I change it up. I have shoes for walking outside. Inside. For dancing. For going on hot dates with my hubby. For funerals. For being on my feet all day. Even different slippers for the changing seasons and their varying temperatures.

Girls, I have got to tell you. When it comes to my life, I don't experience that kind of freedom. The "shoes" of my old life are worn and tattered. I have been wearing them a long long time. They are dependable, and I know they fit me perfectly. But I don't want to stay the same. I want to start changing things up! I think it’s high time I throw caution to the wind and spruce up the life with some heels. Or some thigh high boots.

Are you picking up what I am putting down?

What if I start taking more chances? What if I start making decisions that are risky and will not promise a reward, but will always know that I am following my heart? What if I start living life like I’m not the same old fat girl, ditch the girdles, and embrace the opportunities that are out there?

Over the past 3 days, I have received 4 emails and had 2 conversations with girls who are on the edge of making some hardcore decisions. They want to lose the weight, but it’s the same old dieting dilemma. What if I try it and fail? What if I can’t stick with it? Is there a miracle cure for fat and where can I get it?

I spent the last 24 years of my life wishing I was somebody else. I was a pair of comfortable shoes dying to be a set of red heels. I was overweight, extremely vulnerable, and thought no one else understood where I was in life. I was a pair of shoes that had been worn past their prime.

Today, I was told by Matt that I had an opportunity to shake things up. I have been invited to do a very special show locally. Here’s the kicker. It’s a 2 person show. And it would be just me and Matt. That’s it.

And at first, the thought of Matt and I performing scared me out of my wits. Even though I have acted on stage before, I am no where as good as my darling Matt. (He’s freaking brilliant on stage. You all have no idea what you are missing in the cornfield community theaters when Matt is starring in a show!) And I felt that old comfortable shoe aching to be put back on. I immediately wanted to spurn the chance because of my own insecurities. Those old shoe laces started creeping tightly around my feet.

“You aren’t good enough.”

“You are going to look like a hack next to that other guy.” (and I’m next to that other guy all the time, and he even sees my stretch marks and occasionally pops the zits I can't reach!)

“You won’t be believable.”

“You are going to fall flat on your face.”

I want you to think about something for a minute. (Yep, another fat fairy tale is just around the corner.)

What would have happened if Cinderella hadn’t changed her shoes? What if she had donned the beautiful ball gown of opportunity, but had kept on her feet the clunky reminder that she was still a servant? A maid? Would she ever have approached Prince Charming? Or would she have hung back, her feet firmly planted in the shoes of her past and even her present, to ashamed to dance into her future?

Maybe you have an opportunity to make a change. To step out of your comfort zone. Maybe you have a big solo coming up at church. Maybe you are going to make a presentation that could land you a promotion at the office. Maybe you are finally ready to face the truths that you see in the mirror and the scale and make some changes.

What would be the worst thing that could happen if you put on a new pair of shoes?

Would you walk a little taller? Would you carry yourself differently? Would you step with purpose and direction instead of wandering aimlessly?

I can only speak for myself here, but I have lived for too long in the well fitting form of my comfy shoes. I have let opportunity after opportunity pass me by, all because I felt unworthy, too fat, too ugly, and like I wasn’t “enough” to do it right. And you know what? Maybe there are times I am some of those things. Maybe even all of those things. But that doesn’t mean I can kick around in a new pair of shoes and give it a try. Because perhaps all I needed to walk into a new opportunity was the same me- but wearing a new pair of shoes that were fitted for the course I was supposed to take!

Charles DuBois once said:
The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

Am I willing to stick my foot out for the chance of becoming something better than I am now?

You know, when Cinderella put on those glass slippers, she was still a maid. She was covered from head to toe with the filth of her stepmother’s house. There was no denying that she cleaned houses that afternoon. But that night of the ball, she wore those slippers anyway. Even though she wasn’t a princess...yet.
I am firmly convinced that YET is the best word in the English language.

Yet means that there is still hope. It still can happen. For you. And for me.

So what if we spent the last year dieting and exercising and sweating to improve our health and our appearance? If we never put on the glass slippers of opportunity, the boots of change, then all the things we have worked so hard to achieve mean nothing.

We change ourselves so that our selves will change.

I can’t know where you are on your journey from maid to princess. From fat to thin. From wallflower to blooming centerpiece. But what I do know is that in order for any of us to get from one thing to the other, we have to be brave like Cinderella, and let a pair of shoes change our life. We have to step out of the comfy shoes, and get our tootsies moving toward those glass slippers.

You may have to try on a couple of pairs before you find the ones that fit you and you alone, but what woman doesn’t love shopping???

I want to encourage you to step out today. Make a change. Improve yourself somehow. Take a chance! Do something today that is for your future, instead of being planted in the present.

As for that show that I told you about with just me and Matt that scares me to death?

I'll let you know as soon as tickets go on sale. You aren't going to want to miss this!!!

Tuesday, December 1

Sequins of Thanksgiving Events

I told you about the showchoir costumes that fell into my care briefly. And I told you I was up at 2 in the morning on Monday still sewing. And now, my good readers, I want to elaborate on that story. Cause you deserve to know what took me away from you for almost a week. And I need to (insert the word that rhymes with itch.) I used it once in proper form with the kids, as they were bellyaching, and it was hour 3 of whining and tattling. And I blew my stack and told them to “stop itching”, except I didn’t say itching. And now I am forever reminded about the time I swore at the kids. I’m a fantastic mother, huh? But seriously, I know I am not the only mom who has ever said that when she was on the verge of wits end. Am I???

What I must first tell you about showchoir is that I am a jazz hand junkie.

I started the wild ride of showchoir in Jr. High and continued it through High School. I had a husband and wife team who were the directors, Mr. and Mrs. V, and I have the deepest respect for both of them. They taught me about breath support, trying to be light on my feet (a lesson I never really grasped) and of course, something called a musical orgasm. (OK, before you freak out, it’s not what it sounds like. Plus, Hillary used the word douche recently on her blog, so I can use the word orgasm.) For those of you scratching your head, that is the point in the song where everything crescendos (gets louder) and builds until the singers and the audience gets goosebumps. (Musical O’s are important. I get them in worship all the time. And it’s not weird at all. It’s heavenly!) This couple was dedicated to taking a group of hyperactive melodic divas (both male and female) and getting them to work together as a team. It took a lot of ego tempering, yelling, tears, slamming hands on the pianos (something they both are famous for) and a big butt load of commitment. I owe them a lot, and if I ever win a grammy, a dove or a tony, they are on my thank you speech, right under Jesus. I love you both, Mrs. and Big V!!!

Now, the reason I am so obsessed with showchoir is that it was the one place I knew that although I was the biggest girl in the “Contemporaires” (our group’s name) I also knew that I had something special to offer. I have a very expressive face, a strong voice, and I hear harmonies like nobody’s business. It’s no surprise that I took the phrase “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings” as a personal challenge. And sing I did. The musical values instilled in me by Mr. and Mrs. V have carried over into my adult hood, and I am a better person, both on stage and off, because of them.

More than anything I want my kids to feel the passion of music and understand how a little song and dance can change a roomful of people from sleepy and stoic to spirited and inspired. I also want them to NEVER be afraid to get up in front of people. My mom, Margaret the Saint, has a wonderfully strong case of stage fright, something I have never been afflicted with. And it makes a world of difference. I can talk to people, sing for people, and yes, even break into a jazz square with a nice grapevine and dance. Our kids deserve that freedom too.

So when Nick, the elementary music teacher, suggested a showchoir for the 4th and 5th graders at the kids’ school, I was all over that like me on French Fries. Or a steak n’ shake buttery burger. I was in before the opening 4 counts.

Because I was trying to be supportive, I offered my services anywhere I could be used. Bringing snacks to rehearsals, being a live body in the room to remind kids to not talk during the instructions, and to sing out during the song. I also briefly offered to HELP sew on SOME costumes.

If only I had known!

(Please know, I am honored that I could be a part of this. My 10 year old Amy and my niece Gabbi are both in the showchoir, so it’s my parent duty. I also think that the director Nick is fantastic. He’s been a great addition to our school. Funny and bright, ambitious and energetic, he’s a perfect match to our pint size performers.)

Enter the score of my drama- the Jackson 5. Yep, the kiddos are singing “I’ll be there,” “Dancing Machine” and “ABC” for their set. Only they haven’t got the choreography done for “ABC” yet. So for their winter/holiday concert this Thursday night, they going to dance to the “Dancing Machine.” But they needed costumes. And Bell Bottoms are totally in order.

And lots of parents signed up to help hand sew sequins on the flare leg jeans. Unfortunately, when I went to deliver the jeans to others, they sweetly declined.

Which left me with 25 pairs of jeans to sew.

And each pair ended up taking me between 45 minutes to an hour to finish. And that’s if I was booking it.

Now you can only sew sequins for so long before a few things happen.

A) Your back begins to get sore from hunching over to see the teeny tiny hole in the middle of the sequin.
B) You get blinded by the light of the lamp hitting the silver sequins and shining back into your eyes.
C) You run the needle up your fingernail or stab the tip of your finger.
D) You want to cry because the pile of unsequined jeans appears to never get smaller.

But I pushed through, and conquered the mountain of jeans. It took me all weekend to finish them, and I could hardly type yesterday because I have mutilated the tips of my fingers, but I got them done.

And it felt great.

What was even better, was that I was so wrapped up in finishing the jeans that I totally forgot to whine and cry about over eating during Thanksgiving. And I didn’t gain a single pound. In fact, I am sitting pretty at 170.

So what was the secret to my dieting success during the holiday?

I guess it was all in the jeans….
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